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Posts from the ‘Collaboration’ Category

The 12 Most Exciting and Surprising Collaborations in Digital Health

From time to time, I come across news covering collaborations between companies which are either promising or surprising. Sometimes both. A future full of science fiction technologies in medicine & healthcare starts with such collaborations. Here are those I’m the most excited about.

1) Oscar Health, the hipster insurance company, works with the wearable tracker Fitbit. Insured people can submit their Fitbit data and if they reach the daily fitness goals, they get $1 every day.


2) Qualcomm, which is world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, and Walgreens, the largest drug retailing chain in the US, are collaborating  to power device connectivity in remote patient monitoring, transitional care support and chronic care management.

3) The patient community site started working with the pharma company AstraZeneca to support patient-driven research initiatives. AstraZeneca will use data from the community site to improve outcomes of several therapeutic areas.


4) The company Organovo that works on printing out biomaterials teamed up with L’Oréal to focus on printing out synthetic skin.

5) Organovo also works with the pharma company Merck to use the 3D printed liver system for drug testing. It could eradicate the use of animal testing at pharma companies.


6) The American Association of Retired Persons launched a collaboration with Pfizer and United Health to discover how wearable devices and other health trackers could impact the lives of people aged 50 and older.

7) The pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim has formed a new digital health collaboration with California healthcare provider Sutter Health. They will test digital health solutions, mobile technologies and data analytics.

8) Novartis signed an agreement with Google about the digital contact lens that Google patented in 2014 and can measure blood glucose levels from tears. It could be a hit in diabetes management.


9) The Human Longevity Inc. is joining forces with Cleveland Clinic for a human genomics collaboration aimed at disease discovery. They will sequence and analyze blood samples from the medical center’s patient study, running whole genome, cancer and microbiome sequencing.

10) Nestlé started working with companies that develop food printers. They want to have a branch with business models, experts and products by the time food printing becomes a common thing at home.


11) Google’s Calico project works together with the pharma company Abbvie to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies.

12) Pfizer surprised many of us when it announced its collaboration with a lab developing DNA robots. They could target diseases more efficiently with robots that deliver the drug to the desired location.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know.


Figure 1: The Flickr of Healthcare Professionals

There are more and more ways for crowdsourcing clinical questions, and the newest addition to the family of web tools and services is Figure 1, a photo sharing site for healthcare professionals. Registered physicians can share images, learn from others and bookmark useful cases.

I’m not sure this is what the medical community requires right now, but I’m always curious about further developments.

According to the co-founder, Joshua Landy, MD:

“I developed Figure 1 because I wanted a safe way to share medical images with the medical community, while protecting patients’ privacy.”


Case Presentations on Google+?

I’m still trying to find ways to use the really professional network, Google+, in medicine and I asked my community a few days ago about that:

I haven’t asked you about that for a while, but how have your habits been changing in the last few weeks on Google+? Do you use it more than Facebook? For me, it seemed to be a fantastic professional network, but still have many more peers on Twitter and Facebook. What to do?

I got some interesting opinions and ideas, but a French colleague  told me French doctors actually perform case presentations in private ways. They upload information about the case, discuss it with other peers and get to a final diagnosis. Based on the very simple privacy settings of Google+, it can be useful for such purposes. Anyone else with similar experience?


10+8 Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia

As I’ve been an administrator of Wikipedia, it’s really important for me to persuade more and more professionals to edit Wikipedia. A new paper published in PLoS Computational Biology seems to be a very helpful first step for those who are interested in editing biomedical content in the biggest encyclopaedia.

Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia

  • Rule 1: Register an Account
  • Rule 2: Learn the Five Pillars
  • Rule 3: Be Bold, but Not Reckless
  • Rule 4: Know Your Audience
  • Rule 5: Do Not Infringe Copyright
  • Rule 6: Cite, Cite, Cite
  • Rule 7: Avoid Shameless Self-Promotion
  • Rule 8: Share Your Expertise, but Don’t Argue from Authority
  • Rule 9: Write Neutrally and with Due Weight
  • Rule 10: Ask for Help

I have some other tips dedicated to the biomedical entries.

  1. Focus on the Medical Collaboration of the Month if you cannot choose which entry to work on.
  2. Defend entries that would be deleted
  3. There are entries needing expert attention
  4. Requested articles in medicine
  5. Expand medical stub entries
  6. Contribute to the assessment of medical entries
  7. Work on the most visited Medical Portal
  8. Find collaborators or other projects on WikiProject Medicine

Friendfeed for Scientific Collaboration

Almost two years ago, I asked my Friendfeed community a question:

“What is your favourite blog story (that happened to you because you’re blogging)? I would like to share the best stories with students at the Medicince 2.0 credit course.”

I received plenty of answers and later this open Google Document was created for a similar purpose: how Friendfeed helped your career. A few examples:

  • Advice on new lab material purchase
  • Request for other Life Scientists to review an NIH grant prior to submission.
  • Extraction of the information about the proteins in wikipedia. Potential paper to come.
  • Andy started an entry on Wikipedia for Open Notebook Science and several people added content and support to have it accepted by editors

Feel free to share Your story!

WikiProject Medicine + Google

I just joined an initiative on Wikipedia which features Google and the medical editors on Wikipedia. WikiProject Medicine editors and Google reviewers work together on articles within Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine.

Initiated at and then announced at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Medicine#Announcement to WikiProject Medicine community prior to trial editorial review, this collaboration is intended as an exploration of active cooperation between professional medical editors and wikipedians to further improve the quality of articles. Work began with the identification of a short list of articles for review, selected as a cross-section of medicine-related topics. Each article on the list now has an assessed “Class” and “Importance”, harvested from its talk-page banner, reflecting Wikipedians’ initial assessment of their state.

While I’m not really sure I understand why it’s beneficial for Google, this is a great project which I’m gladly participating in.

Foldit: 75,000 profile pictures on the cover

If you remember the SETI project, you won’t be surprised that the Foldit project is a huge success. Foldit is an experimental video game about protein folding which helps solve problems that computers cannot solve that efficiently.

As described above, knowing the structure of a protein is key to understanding how it works and to targeting it with drugs. A small proteins can consist of 100 amino acids, while some human proteins can be huge (1000 amino acids). The number of different ways even a small protein can fold is astronomical because there are so many degrees of freedom. Figuring out which of the many, many possible structures is the best one is regarded as one of the hardest problems in biology today and current methods take a lot of money and time, even for computers. Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans’ puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins.

And they plan to publish the results with a cover which includes 75,000 provile images:


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